Earlier this week, we sponsored a measure that will institutionalize the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) Project of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Through the SSFs micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) qualified beneficiaries are provided with the appropriate machinery, equipment, and tools under a “shared” system that would address known gaps in the value chain, most notably the lack of adequate and appropriate facilities, which hinder them from elevating their products and services and enabling the creation of export-ready goods.
Since its inception in 2013, the SSF Project has proven to be effective in assisting our MSMEs grow, particularly industries engaged in processed food, coconut, bamboo, meat, coffee, gifts, decor and housewares, handicrafts, dairy, furniture and furnishings, among others. Latest data from DTI shows that the 3,484 SSFs that have been established in all the regions of the country—including those that were enhanced and upgraded—benefitted nearly 580,000 individuals and created over 317,000 new jobs. In fact, according to a 2022 survey from the University of the Philippines Institute of Small Scale Industries (UP-ISSI), 52 percent of respondents noted an increase in income due to the said project. Meanwhile, 25 percent said that the SSF resulted in an increase in production while 18 percent reported an increase in job opportunities.
In addition, a 2021 Impact Evaluation Assessment submitted to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) underscored that the “shared” nature of the SSF Project makes it a viable strategy and is expected to have a positive impact on the performance of beneficiaries.
Testimonials from beneficiaries or “cooperators,” as they are known under the project, also highlight the tremendous impact of SSFs to the growth of their businesses. For instance, the Samahang Magniniyog ng Pikit Multi-Purpose Cooperative in North Cotabato, a cooperative engaged in the production of coco sugar, noted that they were able to increase their production from 150 kilograms to 500 kilograms to a ton every month through the assistance of the SSF. Consequently, their income has also increased from only P30,000 to P180,000 a month.
Another example is the Chokolate de San Isidro in Davao Del Norte, which, through the SSF Project, were provided with equipment and tools to process cacao and manufacture tablea and chocolate candy. According to the company, the facilities enabled them to make around 180 kilograms of tablea every day—far from their previous production of only 3 kilos on a daily basis. In fact, the company is now able to export their products.
Another feature of the proposed measure is to mandate the creation of an SSF Fabrication Laboratory or Fab Lab, which are SSFs equipped with advanced technology such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and other computer-aided machines, in every province. This is highly important as the existing Fab Labs empowered many businesses and individuals to harness their creative and innovative potential as they invent and make prototypes of new products. Fab Labs even played quite a significant role during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic by producing over 85,000 face shields, 60,000 face masks, 2,000 medical gowns, 250 aerosol boxes, and close to 4,000 liters of ethyl alcohol—supplies that were incredibly scarce during that time.
The SSF Project of DTI is among the select government initiatives that truly deserve more support because of the demonstrable success that it has garnered over the years. The contribution to economic development and poverty alleviation of these packages of equipment and facilities are tremendous, and should not be ignored. More importantly, it is consistent with the current administration’s goal of making more MSMEs be driven by Science, Technology, and Innovation.
This laudable program dovetails with our Tatak Pinoy (Proudly Filipino) advocacy aimed at increasing the productivity and innovativeness of Filipinos—particularly the MSMEs in the countryside by introducing technology-driven reforms and initiatives. With Tatak Pinoy, we aspire to make Filipino entrepreneurs and industries more competitive, produce more complex products and consequently, create more quality jobs for our people. The SSF program plays a key role in achieving this objective and it is only fit that this is institutionalized to ensure it gets the funding support and is continued in the years to come.
DTI’s tagline for this project is: SSFs equate to Shared Success for Filipino MSMEs. But as MSMEs are among the foremost job creators and income generators of the country, we are convinced that a scaled up, well-provisioned, well-coordinated, and institutionalized SSF project will result in shared success for all Filipinos.
Senator Sonny Angara has been in public service for 18 years—9 years as Representative of the Lone District of Aurora, and 9 as Senator. He has authored, co-authored, and sponsored more than 330 laws. He is currently serving his second term in the Senate.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org| Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @sonnyangara